Lately, much of my reading has focused on that rare breed of business leader known as “entrepreneurs.” As I’ve studied the maverick product designer and the venture capitalist, I’ve come to appreciate the parallels they have to the nonprofit sector. In particular, I’ve been taken aback by how start-ups have to deal with an environment of limited resources.
The difference is that, in the nonprofit sector, we tend to relate to the context of “not enough” from the place of deficiency: There’s a finite amount of charitable dollars for which we must compete, and that’s what we get to work with. Resource constraints become our ceilings and walls.
In contrast, entrepreneurs tend to relate to “not enough” as a constraint to be transcended: It is not something that one should allow to stop them, but rather a bar over which we must leap. Resource constraints become our floor.
When you butt up against “not enough,” are you choosing to be stopped by it? Or are you choosing to reach beyond it?
Growing up, I had a love-hate relationship to the Christian season of Lent. Those of the pre-Vatican II persuasion rained shame on all of us sinners, making us feel bad for all of our supposed transgressions (Who knew that even thinking sinful thoughts was already sinful?). For those of the liberation theology ilk, the Lenten season became less about what we were going to give up for the next forty days (because how many times could we really give up drinking dark sodas after 3 PM), and more about eliminating those habits, patterns of thought, and behavior that stand between us and God.
As someone who is partial to the New Thought wisdom tradition made famous by The Secret, I’m of the opinion lately that it’s not only about getting closer to God: It’s also about removing the constraints that prevent us from expressing our own divine inheritance. If Jesus’ 40 days in the desert are a demonstration of spiritual law, then it is possible that he was teaching us that fasting is about taking away that which limits our ability to fully express who we are. Be it false beliefs, stories from the past, or the judgment of others, we have things that stand in the way of that greater Self trying to fight its way out.
Lent, therefore, takes on greater significance for me. I get now that it really is about Freedom from self-imposed limitations. It’s about fully expressing who I really am for the entire world….